Today it was announced that the 2021 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix AND the 2021 Australian Moto GP have both been cancelled as a result of the ongoing Global pandemic. This news is unfortunately not the most surprising and had been predicted for the past few months in spite of the improvements made to the track at Albert Park for the Formula One scheduled for the mid-November in 2021.
The Australia Grand Prix Corporation had done all it could to ensure the Grand Prix would proceed in mid-November as planned. However, today’s announcement shows that talks between health officials at both state and federal government level have failed.
Due to Australia’s tight border regulations, the issue was how could people enter Australia. Team personnel, drivers and media would all have to enter Australia for the race to proceed and the ‘biosphere’ was mooted but not approved as a suitable plan.
“We understand this is not the news MotoGP and Formula 1 fans wanted to hear," said Australia Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Victorian Government, Formula 1 and Dorna Sports for their unwavering resilience and support during this challenging period, and for their ongoing commitment to these two great events. There are bound to be ongoing challenges with COVID-19, but I want to reassure fans that while there is sadness and disappointment amongst our wonderful AGPC staff there is a tenacity and determination to make sure the next episodes of MotoGP at the Island and Formula 1 at the new Albert Park layout are sensational showcases of how we do things in Victoria.”
With the news of Australia’s cancellation, another cancellation in the wake of Singapore and Canada, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali still stated that the F1 Championship aims to hold 23 races in 2021:
“While it is disappointing we won’t be racing in Australia this season, we are confident we can deliver a 23 race season in 2021 and we have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix," Domenicali said. "We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded.”
So, 2021 is no longer on the table but what plans are there for 2022 and an Australian F1 Grand Prix?
Any 2022 F1 Grand Prix in Australia rests on the country’s vaccination programme and on that front the signs are encouraging. It has been forecast that Australia will have a sufficient number of vaccinated citizens by the end of 2021 so that the country can start to ease their border restrictions…we can but hope.